Half of a UK family's average Christmas wine and spirits spend is going to the government's coffers in tax, says a new report from the Wine & Spirit Trade Association designed to highlight the duty divide between Britain and France.

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Figures released by the WSTA show that just over 50% of a family’s average alcohol spend at Christmas goes is duty and value added tax.

French families, by contrast, would only see 32% of their Christmas drinks shop going on tax, assuming they bought the same goods.

It is the latest salvo in a long-running campaign by the industry against levels of duty tax on wines, spirits and beer in the UK.


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Drawing on retail sales data, WSTA siad an average festive shop in the UK consists of five bottles of wine, two bottles of Champagne, two bottles of sparkling wine, three bottles of spirits, two bottles of Port, 24 cans of beer and 12 ciders.

That would come to £171.66 and ‘over 50% of the bill at the checkout will go straight to the Treasury’, said Miles Beale, chief executive of the WSTA.

Where the money goes on a bottle of wine:

UK budget 2016, wine tax

This graphic shows how much of your money for a bottle of wine goes to tax. Credit: Bibendum

Brexit will bite in January

Beale re-iterated that wine prices will rise in the UK in January, because of the weak sterling currency that has been linked to the Brexit vote on 23 June.

‘Thus far businesses have been able to shoulder the burden by absorbing the extra costs.

‘This will be welcome for consumers, particularly in the run up to Christmas. However, in the New Year, we should be under no illusion that prices will rise.’

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